Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies
Associate Professor of Dance Nicole Stanton created a module around the theme: “Threshold Sites: an embodied investigation of bodily, socio-political, and ecological processes” in the course "MUSC 521: Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies." The course investigated the complex relationships between bodily experience, socio-political contexts, and the environment with specific regard to climate change and environmental degradation. The course also discussed the ways in which scientific inquiry informs and enriches choreographic inquiry and vice versa. The final project included works choreographed by the students that enact functional activism in regards to global climate change. Andrea Olsen, Professor and Chair of Middlebury’s Dance Department, was invited to conduct her Body and Earth seminar as a module in the class, and Assistant Professor of Biology Michael Singer served as the collaborating scientist.
"Two class modules were dedicated to raising consciousness among future ethnomusicology professors about the utility and potential of climate issues for a humanities discipline involved with creative response to the environment by musicians and raising awareness among listeners. In addition to [musician Mark Slobin and scientist Johan Varekamp], the modules were able to take advantage of the presence of composers John Luther Adams and Ron Kuivila. Varekamp’s first lecture introduced the students to the long-term cycles of glaciation and warming and the second module laid out the current global-warming controversy. The other bridge theme for music brought in the experience of small Siberian and Arctic-Circle peoples whose music is intimately connected to environmental reflection and whose cultures are now being subjected to the stresses brought about by climate change."
- Excerpt from Faculty Report by Mark Slobin and Johan Varekamp